Sheep and Shepherds


When people call me “Pastor” they are using the Latin word for “Shepherd.”  My daily prayer is that I will care for the flock of God in a loving, caring, spiritually protective way. Sometimes, when the pain of another overwhelms my heart, I do remind myself, “Jerry, you are not the Savior, you are the pastor.”  My calling is to watch over God’s people, to love them, to lead and teach, and to care.

We all need people who care for us. Life gets turbulent, challenges multiply, spiritual challenges arise. It is a real comfort to know that there is someone who is looking out for our interests, who is ready to care for our soul.  Most important, we can be secure when we know the Good Shepherd.

Jesus saw the needs of people and it touched His heart. Matthew tells us that He traveled through the towns and villages, teaching about the arrival of the Kingdom of God. He was not a tourist, seeing the sights. He was a Shepherd, seeing the human needs. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38, NIV)

Some of our modern pundits like to mock ordinary people by calling them, ‘sheeple’ in the most derogatory way, arrogantly dismissing those who are struggling, who are not able to claim ‘self-sufficiency,’ who need help  – as weak. In fact, we are much like sheep, needing to be cared for.  Domestic sheep, if left alone on the open range without a shepherd, will invariably come to a terrible end! Predators will kill them off. Their wool will grow, becoming a mess of tangles, infested with parasites. They will over-graze the land, exhausting their food supply.  But, a well-shepherded flock thrives.

How are things in your life today?  Are you, in some way, feeling ‘harassed and helpless?’  Our cultural ideal of individualism, of needing no one, is a myth. People who try to live that way end up alone, usually miserable. There is no shame in admitting we need care, that we want to know that we are loved.  Yes, there are evil people who exploit that need and use others to serve their own agenda. Sometimes even ‘religious’ leaders abuse the flock of God. So before we entrust our soul and heart to another, we need to be discerning.

There is a Good Shepherd that loves you! His name is Jesus. He invites us to – “Come, follow me. … I am the Good Shepherd.” In John’s Gospel, He enlarges the idea, speaking of the sheep-fold that the shepherd prepared for his flock at night. There they were safe, gathered in under care.  He tells us that He is “the Gate for the sheep. … Anyone who goes through me will be cared for-will freely go in and out, and find pasture. … I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary.” (John 10:7-11, The Message)

“Come, follow me.” Will you take Jesus up on His invitation?  It’s an invitation to adventure, to life that is purposeful and meaningful, and – best of all – to a relationship! He promises that if we follow Him, He will never leave us. He does not promise that we will never be attacked by wolves, go through violent storms, or experience difficult days! But, He promises we won’t face those challenges alone. “I’ll be there,” He says, “caring for you.”

Follow the Good Shepherd. Serve Him. Worship Him. Listen to Him. And, you will ‘have real and eternal life, more and better life than you ever dreamed.’ That’s the truth.

Here’s a familiar word from the Word. Don’t rush through it!  Savor the promise.
The Lord is MY shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23, NIV)


Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us
(An older recording of this song by 4Him)

Savior like a shepherd lead us
Much we need thy tender care
In thy pleasant pastures feed us
For our use thy folds prepare
Blessed Jesus blessed Jesus
Thou hast bought us thine we are
Blessed Jesus blessed Jesus
Thou hast bought us thine we are

We are thine do thou befriend us
Be the guardian of our way
Keep thy flock from sin defend us
Seek us when we go astray
Blessed Jesus blessed Jesus
Hear O hear us when we pray
Blessed Jesus blessed Jesus
Hear O hear us when we pray

Early let us seek thy favor
Early let us do thy will
Blessed Lord and only Savior
With thy love our beings fill
Blessed Jesus blessed Jesus
Thou hast loved us love us still
Blessed Jesus blessed Jesus
Thou hast loved us love us still

Dorothy Ann Thrupp | William Batchelder Bradbury

© Words: Public Domain


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